Happiness In Marriage

1307 Words 6 Pages
The Regency era, defining the early 19th century in England, was a period in which one’s social status greatly defined individuals. This social standing could be achieved by women and their families through marriage with wealthy men, union that also ensured the maintenance of men’s social image. The ways in which social importance could be achieved is discussed in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in which she denounces the way women’s happiness and individuality did not matter, as they were seen only as a means to achieve or maintain social standing through marriage. This criticism is expressed in the novel in terms of the superficial education women were entitled to in order to achieve a union with a wealthy man, and Elizabeth’s happiness …show more content…
Parents of girls all had the ambition of marrying them with a wealthy man, knowing that the union would increase their social status and insure the future of their daughter. With all this pressure on status and wealth, there was no place for love in the relationship, hence fulfilment of women was not even close to being as important as how girls could be used by their family. This reality is expressed by Charlotte Lucas’ view on marriage:
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life. (Austen
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When Elizabeth finally accepts to Darcy’s proposal, she marries a man whom she loves and is financially secure with. When Darcy tells Elizabeth that he had fallen in love with her for the “liveliness of [her] mind”, she responds that “[he was] disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for [his] approbation alone”, mentioning that she interested Darcy because she was “unlike them” (Austen 309). This proves that their relation is based on authentic feelings and love. Elizabeth ends up both happy and financially secure, a combination rarely achieved in the Regency era. The independence of Elizabeth and the consequences on her life are an illustration of Austen’s commentary of England’s society in the early 19th century. This argument is reinforced with characters that do not have Elizabeth’s drive and do not end up as happy as her. Charlotte’s marriage with Collins is used by Austen to demonstrate how choosing security rather than happiness in marriage can lead to a future of compromises and restrictions. Charlotte let go of her self-respect and pride to become Mrs. Collins. She understands that getting married is one of her duties hence why she’s resigned to marrying the

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